Background: An American Place
Around 1934 Porter met the artist-photographer Ansel Adams and the influential photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz. These encounters induced him to purchase a 9-by-12-centimeter Linhoff view camera and take up landscape photography following the style of these masters. During breaks from his research at Harvard's biochemical laboratories, Porter refined his vision and worked on printing technique. Periodically he brought his newest depictions mostly taken along the Maine coast and northern New England to Stieglitz for critique. In late 1938 Stieglitz offered him a solo exhibition. Porter became only the third photographer, after Adams and Paul Strand, to gain such a distinction. The exhibition at Stieglitz's prestigious New York City gallery, An American Place, instantly signaled that he was one of the most important artists of the day. The recognition and its accompanying critical acclaim induced him to give up medicine and take up fine art photography full time. The collection holds a mix of vintage and later prints encompassing all twenty-eight images that Porter presented at An American Place.

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